Student News

What is Superscore, and Why Should I Care?

ACT testing changes that may boost your confidence, diminish stress and reflect your true knowledge capabilities.

Shawna Newman

February 14, 2020

What is Superscore, and Why Should I Care?
For many, test taking is not on their “favorite things to do” list. Sweaty palms, an increased heart rate, flooded with emotions of self-doubt…many consider test taking a very stressful situation to be in. Even some of the world’s most intelligent people have failed an exam or two. No one wants to bomb a test that you’re riding on for admission, an important scholarship, or entrance into a life-long dream program. Some very smart people can just be, very bad test takers. According to Reader’s Digest Albert Einstein failed the botany, zoology and language test sections leading to a failed school-entrance exam. Should this eliminate them from college or specific scholarships? We think not, and the tide is turning for many colleges as well, as they begin to understand test results are not fully reflective of a student’s knowledge base. No major college would want to turn away an Einstein mind, simply because he/she was a horrible test taker. Before you get too excited – This doesn’t mean testing is eliminated. There must be a standardized benchmark to evaluate a student’s knowledge base. However, many colleges are embracing a new approach to standardized testing: Superscore. The Superscore approach is still knowledge based, but this change supports persistence.
While Superscoring has becoming more notable since the concept introduction in 2018, it’s very important to note that not all colleges accept the ACT Superscores. If you’re sold on the idea of Superscoring, be sure to check in with your college admissions team to see if they accept the ACT composite score only, or if their admissions policy allows ACT Superscores.

More Bang for Your Buck, Less Stress for Your Test

To register for the 2020-2021 ACT it will cost you $68 (registration with the writing section). According to, most students take the ACT exam two to three times. Not only are you getting more bang for your buck, you’re also lowering your stress levels associated with test taking!

How Superscore Works

According to, “It [the Superscore recalculation] reflects the average of the four best subject scores from each of the students’ ACT test attempts.” And the Superscore was not approved by ACT without research. After more than two years of research it led to the conclusion that superscoring was “more predicative of how students would perform in their college courses than other scoring methods.” The ACT has four testing sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. According to the ACT Website, there’s a “growing trend for students to take the exam multiple times.” You’ll now have the option to improve each section based upon various test dates. Rather than accepting the overall score (AKA composite score) from a singular test date, you can pick your best scores from each test section from all your test dates. Also new in September 2020, Superscore results will be automatically provided to the colleges of your choice as part of your test results.

Composite Score Examples

Below is an example of Superscore and composite scoring:
1st ACT Test Scores: English-21, Math-29, Reading-25, Science-22 ACT Composite Score = 24 2nd ACT Test Scores: English-24, Math-28, Reading-27, Science-23 ACT Composite Score = 26 3rd ACT Test Scores: English-25, Math-28, Reading-20, Science-29 ACT Composite Score = 26 ACT Superscore = 28 The four colleges you selected to send your test results to, should they be Superscoring colleges, will elect the top scores from all three tests for each test category to create a new average—AKA Your Superscore. For instance, a student with the scores listed above would have an ACT Superscore of 28. This beats the 24 and 26 composite scores.

Additional ACT Changes

In addition to Superscoring. ACT will roll out two additional test enhancements in September of this year. Online Testing: Maybe you’re use to taking high school exams digitally. Does taking a massive, paper test seem old fashioned? You’ll soon have the option to replace the original, paper-test method with online testing. However, should you prefer the online testing method, you will still have to take the digital test at approved test centers. Another online testing benefit is that you’ll get your results in as early as two days! That sure beats the anticipation of waiting. This also means the colleges you’ve applied to will have access to your scores quicker, meaning college admissions and financial aid offices can evaluate, organize and offer your student financial aid package sooner. ACT Section Retesting: You’re comfortable with your ACT section scores, but you wish you could just take Reading section again. But who wants to take the entire test again?! Not many students do. This option not only reduces test taking stress, it also gives you more time to study on the subject you wish to improve.

Does the SAT Have Superscore?

Yes, your SAT Superscore follows the same concept as the ACT Superscore! In addition to Superscoring your SAT, students have the option of Score Choice. This option gives you the opportunity to select the scores, or set of scores, you’d like to send to a college. You can find out more about the SAT Score Choice in this YouTube video.

Testing Time

You’re excited about these testing updates. Great! You’re going to want to do your very best. And if possible, you’d like to not take the test more than you must; remember, there’s a fee to take the ACT or SAT each time. You have a lot riding on these test score—We’re talking scholarships, grants and financial aid. Consider prepping for your test with videos, guides and even online prep tools. In addition, there are many ways you can prepare.

Remaining 2020 ACT Testing Dates

We’ve filtered the list and removed ACT 2020 dates that have passed. Below are the remaining 2020 ACT testing dates: April 4 Register by February 28 June 13 Register by May 8 July 18 Register by June 19 Register for the ACT.

Remaining 2020 SAT Testing Dates

We’ve filtered the list and removed SAT 2020 dates that have passed. Below are the remaining 2020 SAT testing dates: March 14 Register by February 14 May 2 Register by April 3 June 6 Register by May 8 Register for the SAT.

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